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The student voice of West Potomac High School

The Wire

The student voice of West Potomac High School

The Wire

Changes in Latitude and Attitudes Without Jimmy Buffett this Summer

Is that the last mango in Paris? Summer will always have the music that Jimmy Buffet left the world.   Image created in Canva.
Is that the last mango in Paris? Summer will always have the music that Jimmy Buffet left the world. Image created in Canva.

For thousands of fans in Northern Virginia called Parrotheads, summer’s biggest party has been the annual Jimmy Buffett concert at Jiffy Lube Live (formerly Nissan Pavilion). His shows encouraged fans to be silly and fun wearing Hawaiian shirts, pretending to be landsharks or pirates or maybe even tropical sunbathers with coconut bikinis and grass skirts. Many parents who grew up with his music and traditions, shared it with their kids–many Wolverines–to create a whole new generation of Parrotheads. This will be the first summer without him, as he passed away last September.  

He was a quotable guy in music and life, “I’d rather die while I’m living than live while I’m dead” he was known to say. “He was pretty carefree… just don’t worry about the big stuff,” freshman Annabelle Cummings said.

Buffett toured from 1972 all the way to his last concert on May 6th of 2023. His concerts are an experience that is too good to be true. The tailgating, outfits, environment, and the overall energy of everyone is matched.

Each Parrothead had their favorite traditions. “Hanging out in the parking lot with my friends and you know, just bonding around Jimmy Buffett [are my favorite things]. I love to look at all the outfits that people wear, too,” Christina Cashman, administrative principal, said.

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Mrs. Cashman shows off her Hawaiian shirt as a Jimmy Buffett fan. Photo: Mrs. Cashman

Buffett’s career began with music. Some of his most well known songs are It’s 5 ‘O’clock Somewhere, Fins, Cheeseburger In Paradise, A Pirate Looks At Forty, and the most renowned: Margaritaville. The song came out in 1977 and 10 years later, Buffett opened his first Margaritaville restaurant in Key West, Florida. There are now 23 restaurants, and 34 resorts and hotels. On top of all that, there are cruises called Margaritaville at Sea as well. Buffett had turned a single song into a worldwide franchise.

“He got people through a lot of hard times with his music and he was a conservationist,” freshman Clara Lozar said.

Being a Parrothead is an experience within itself. Grown adults with normal jobs and normal lives let loose at Buffett concerts. They became part of it all, demonstrating one of Buffett’s lyrics, “We are the people our parents warned us about.” He has inspired many musicians that came after him like Greg Taylor, Alan Jackson, and the Zac Brown Band. People would live by his lyrics and treat them like they were pure gold.

The regulars will miss the Buffett show this summer, “Just everybody there together united around the songs in the lifestyle and the fact that we’re all like regular people,” Mrs. Cashman explained.

In February, the Florida legislature passed a bill with unanimous votes to make August 30th official Jimmy Buffett day. Buffett has made such a big impact on people all around the world. He is most known for his song turned into franchise: Margaritaville. The song, Margaritaville, came out in 1977 on the album Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude. The song spiked an empire: merchandise, restaurants, hotels, and more.

Jimmy Buffett has left behind his legacy of kindness, adventurer, philanthropy, conservationism, and music. He wasn’t just a singer. He was a poet, a husband, a father, a business owner, and has made an entire empire based on one song. He also has given millions of dollars to charities throughout his lifetime. As Buffett sang in The Last Mango in Paris, “Our lives change like the weather but a legend never dies.”


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  • G

    Gary KirkhamJun 5, 2024 at 12:28 PM

    It’s spelled B-U-F-F-E-T-T!!!!

    • J

      Josephine KellerJun 6, 2024 at 8:01 AM

      Thank you! All incorrect spellings of Jimmy Buffett have now been corrected.

  • P

    Pamm PetersonJun 5, 2024 at 11:41 AM

    When I heard Jimmy died I was in shock. The next few times I listened to his tunes I cried. Now I’m sad for all the joy I experienced throughout the years at his concerts. WYKYK.
    Walking through the parking lots of outdoor venues being offered booze concoctions from those people your parents warned you about. Watching the video filmed outside the venue on the big screen. Jimmy coming out with just his 6 string. The full on production of Fins at the end of the show. Walking back to the car sweaty ears ringing holding my husband’s hand. Smiles plastered on everyone’s faces. The Privilege of Adulting.
    That’s what I’ll miss the most. 🏖️🍹🧉